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Golden Hour on the Portuguese Coast

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

“Together we can face challenges as deep as the ocean and as high as the sky”
Sonia Gandhi
Drone photo of golden cliffs along a small beach with clear mediterranean water on the right
Golden Cliffs of Lagos, Portugal
When I asked how they met, Natasha and Karl described themselves to me as “a one-night stand gone wrong.” 15 years later, they are married and starting a new life together on the southern Portuguese coast. We met at golden hour on the Ponta da Piedade and spent an hour capturing their laughs, their looks, and their perfect serenity in each other’s presence. If you want to take your photos in an adventurous location, Portugal would be worth going for the views alone.
I’ll say it right off the bat: this is one of only two “styled shoots” that I have done in my entire career. I prefer to keep it real, simple, and minimalistic, almost to a fault. I love the raw feelings and raw emotions that come from two people together without the pressures of tight schedules and a checklist of certain poses. I like to go with the flow of the couple, even taking hints from them if they have certain poses in mind. I prompt when it’s needed; I step back when it’s not. With how comfortable Natasha & Karl were in front of the camera, I spent a lot of my time just trying not to get in their way while they got lost in each other.
For location, I spent days scouting out the southern Portuguese coast to find just the right spot for these photos. My sister and I hiked for hours along the ridges and sketchy cliff edges, trying to determine which spots were safe enough for us versus safe enough for photo subjects to hike along, and which should be avoided altogether except by local daredevils! Thankfully, Natasha and Karl had no fear. I wouldn’t have had them falling off of anything on my watch for the world, so we stuck to cliffs with all the perfect aesthetics without the overly-perilous edges. I love it when my couples are willing to get a little adventurous for the right spots!

Finally, the biggest thing these two taught me was to stay out of their way. Some of my couples need more guidance and attention to posing, and that’s what I’m there for! Some of my favorite shoots of all time have been with couples who were “awkward” in front of the camera, who had never taken professional photos before, and who were nervous about the whole thing before we met. These are generally my favorite couples, especially when they’re willing to have fun with me and let loose for our photoshoot! I love those experiences. But right along with those sessions, I love getting to see the real people come out in each unique couple I work with. Natasha and Karl were no exception to that. I learned so quickly in our shoot that they didn’t need hardly any instruction at all to laugh with each other, love on each other, and overall just be complete dreams in front of the camera while I was a bystander with a long lens.

For locations, this wasn't our first idea. Also did some scouting on Dona

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